Interview with FLAMINGO ahead of WOMADelaide 2017

Words by Niki Dahlenburg

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Adelaide electronic three-piece FLAMINGO are set to take the Electrolounge stage at this year’s WOMADelaide Festival taking place over the 10th-13th March 2017 long weekend. We spoke exclusively with Benny from the band ahead of their Saturday night set to discuss their surprising international influences, the perks of performing live and what’s in the pipeline for this exciting band in 2017.

“Unfortunately there’s not such a fantastic story about it," admitted guitarist Benny Tamblyn when asked about the backstory behind their unusual band name. “We’d done a demo EP when we first got together – we hadn’t released it yet - and we were thinking we needed a name and we were just sitting around having a couple of beers and a BBQ and just throwing ideas out there and for some reason we just stuck with FLAMINGO. There’s not really too much meaning behind it, but we just thought it sounded cool and we kinda liked, I guess, the sort of imagery, because a lot of the stuff that we do is kind of a bit downbeat, electro stuff and the name FLAMINGO I thought was quite nice – a juxtaposition.” After meeting at school in Adelaide, the FLAMINGO boys dabbled about in other musical genres during their formative years (Kacee and Benny played in rock bands in pubs during their teens whilst Oli DJ-ed locally at various clubs around the city) and ultimately came together as a band following various inspirational trips overseas.

In good company with other Adelaide electronic talent on the Fresh 92.7-curated Electrolounge Stage, Benny sees their inclusion on the diverse WOMAD lineup as a great opportunity to broaden their already vast musical palate and gain inspiration from the unique compilation of musical genres featured this year. “I’ve never been to WOMAD myself so its my first time going and I’m super excited about it, because we get a lot of influence from a lot of other things – a lot of Nigerian Afro-beat music and stuff like that.” Asked how the band stumbled across music like that in little old Adelaide, Benny explained, “Personally, I remember reading an interview from somewhere about Fela Kuti and I fell in love with his stuff, and Oli listens to a lot of Nigerian House Music and used to DJ a lot of that sort of stuff. Our musical tastes are pretty broad, so coming to something like [WOMAD] is awesome, because you can get so much outside influence that’s not just involved in Western popular music, you know? Different rhythms, different beats, different ways about approaching a song. I don’t know many of the artists on the line up this year and I’m really kind of excited about that, so I hope to just walk around and stumble across things and learn new things live. I think that’s what WOMAD is about - you’ve got to just jump in the deep end and see what tickles your fancy.”

In relation to whether the band have anything special in store for audiences at WOMAD this Saturday, Benny explained that in addition to the inclusion of live drums on stage the band plan to perform a whole heap of new songs that they’ve been fine-tuning over the past year. “We’ve been writing pretty hard for the last year to get new material out - I think we’re getting pretty close to having some stuff out – but we’re just perfecting some things so it just takes a while. We’ve basically been rehearsing just for the WOMAD set so the next show that we play will probably be a bit different. I don’t want to say we have new stuff coming out soon because every time I say that it hasn’t come out yet,” he laughed, “but we’ve been working solely on tunes and they shouldn’t be too far away. We’re hoping to have at least a single out soon in the near future."

With 'real' jobs, uni, new music on the horizon and a calendar that will no doubt fill up rapidly with local gigs and national festivals as the year progresses, it can understandably be hard to stick to deadlines even with good intentions and the best laid plans. “It becomes a little bit difficult to focus on [music and the band] every single day, and you’ve got to put it on the side a little bit, on the back burner,” Benny resided. “It does get a bit tricky trying to balance everything, but that’s the life you choose really. As hard as it can be, when you jump up on stage, everything just goes away when you’re in that moment.”

FLAMINGO are playing one show only at WOMAD, check their set out at 10.30pm on Saturday 11th March at the Speakers Corner (Stage 6).